Saturday, 12 July 2014

Camara de Lobos

So on our first full day we took a day tour of the West of the island. Fist stop was Camara de Lobos a place where former Prime Minister Winston Churchill would come and paint - and I can see why it is so beautiful here and although we only had a brief stop it was a lovely place to have a wander and I would like to visit and see more of it.

Câmara de Lobos   is a municipality, parish and city in the south-central coast of the island of Madeira. Technically a suburb of the much larger capital city of Funchal, it is one of the larger population centres and an extension of the Funchal economy.

The location of the modern town is believed to be the original landing point for the Portuguese discoverer João Gonçalves Zarco, who is credited with the discovery of the Madeira Islands. When the explorer disembarked in this area (1419), he observed a thin cliff that extended into the ocean, and another cliff face that formed an amphitheatre-like harbour that could shelter ships from Atlantic storms. There Zarco and his men also found a large colony of marine animals that would become the reason for naming this area Câmara de Lobos.. The name,lobos, is a Portuguese derivation for sea-lions (Portugueselobos-marinhos), which were the animals discovered by Zarco and his men in the sheltered bay. Because of the large colony of these animals, the area was baptisedcâmara dos lobos. This was a pejorative term, since câmara is the Portuguese word for municipal chamber(sometimes erroneously referred to as the city hall or city council), and the sailors named the area, literally as, theMunicipal chamber of [the place where there are] Sea-Lions. Today, the species of monk seals (Latinmonachus monachus) are rare, being an animal common to the Mediterranean, but today confined to a small colony on theDesertas Islands.

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